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Some Dairy Interesting Facts For June Dairy Month

by Mike Austin

Wisconsin truly is America's Dairyland. Even though California produces more milk, everything about Wisconsin says dairy and that includes our license plates. Even before Wisconsin became a state, Wisconsinites were milking cows and making cheese. Matter of fact the first cheese makers were farm wives, with the first cheese plant owned and operated by a farm wife in the 1830's. By 1910 the state was number one in the land for cheese production a title the state still holds today producing over a quarter of the nations total cheese production..

In Wisconsin we take cheese making seriously, as Wisconsin is the only state that requires a licensed cheese maker to be on hand to supervise cheese production and is the only state with a Master Cheese Maker program. Wisconsin is also the home for the Center for Dairy Research which has helped to develop the over 600 variety, types and styles of award winning cheese made in the state. Matter of fact when it comes to national and internationally cheese competition Wisconsin is a slice above the rest. At the 2013 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest Wisconsin cheeses won gold medals in 47 of the 81 categories.

Dairy is also an economic engine for the state as each cow generates $20,000 a year in economic activity throughout their local communities. And the dairy industry has an annual economic impact of 26.5 billion dollars to our states economy.

Certainly Wisconsin's' 11,000 plus dairy farmers and over 130 dairy plants gives us great reasons to celebrate not only in June but all year round. To put it simply, Dairy has been very Gouda for Wisconsin.